(V. I. Consortium) In their first predictions of the year, the CSU team is predicting 11 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season.
CSU expects four of the 11 named storms will become hurricanes, with two likely to reach major hurricane status. Major hurricanes are category 3, 4 and 5 storms on the Saffir/Simpson scale. They have maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph.
The forecast for a slightly below-average season is based on the “potential that weak to moderate El Niño could develop by the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season,” CSU wrote in an announcement about its predictions. “El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form.”
On top of the likely El Niño conditions, the forecasters noted that the tropical Atlantic is running a bit cooler than normal at present.